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“Fantastic way to learn the history of North East England”

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
Ranked #5 of 48 things to do in Sunderland
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens is a great place for the whole family to spend a day, giving you lots to see and do. Situated in the heart of the city, the museum has four floors of exciting galleries and exhibitions waiting to be discovered. Learn the story of the city and its people and of fascinating worlds beyond. A programme of special exhibitions features both our own amazing collections as well as some of the nation's treasures, brought here through out links with national museums. Regular events and activities for all ages, mean that there are so many reasons to come back, again and again. Admission to the museum is free. Charges may apply to some exhibitions. Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 10am - 4pm and 12 - 4pm Sundays
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Stairs / lift, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access
Durham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Fantastic way to learn the history of North East England”
Reviewed 29 April 2011

If you are visiting Sunderland for any length of time, make sure you spend an hour or two at the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens; a place where you can learn local history and browse the plants in the winter garden. Entry into the museum and winter gardens is free.

The museum is located next to Mowbray Park and is also close to shops, restaurants and other facilities in the city centre. I always find it a great sanctuary when it is cold or wet and you have some time to spare.

The museum itself has several floors, each covering a different subject; the ground floor has exhibits about coal mining and what life was like as a minor. You will also find the very first Nissan car made in Sunderland. The winter gardens can be found on the ground floor too, which contains many species of plants and trees; there is also a fish pond. There is a platform that you can access via a glass lift, this gives you views of the plants and trees from above.

Other floors in the museum include: beautiful glassware; a guide to local history over the years via video and audio guides; stuffed animals (taxidermy); a living lobster and various fish species; local fashions and traditions; ship building and local geology. Some of the exhibits have buttons that you press so that you can listen to audio or video guides. Some buttons activate machines or engines.

I have found on occasion that a couple of the interactive exhibits did not work properly, such as visual displays not working when you push the buttons; hopefully they will have been rectified.

The top floor has an art gallery showing traditional and contemporary paintings. I believe there is also an area on the top floor which shows temporary exhibitions done by different artists.

If you want refreshments, there is a nice cafe on the ground floor next to the winter gardens; this cafe has views of (and access to) nearby Mowbray Park. The cafe is not cheap, however I would not say it is extortionate and offers a nice selection of light lunches and refreshments. There is also a gift shop in the entrance to the museum.
I would definitely visit this place if you are planning to visit Sunderland.

Visited September 2010
7 Thank dommylive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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451 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
264 reviews
75 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“Free Museum worth visitng”
Reviewed 26 April 2011

If you are to visit Sunderland, I would advise a visit to The Museum. The Winter Gardens are very pleasurable, as well as the cafe overlooking the Gardens. The museum is a good insight into life in the north east and also situated next to Mobray Park, which is beautiful to walk around. I'm from the north east and always pop in for a walk around when in Sunderland.

Visited March 2011
6 Thank MissBurlo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
86 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Great city museum”
Reviewed 3 October 2010

There is not a lot to see in Sunderland but the msuem and winter gardens are very good. The museum is around a 5 minute walk from the railway/metro station. On the ground floor are various rooms documenting Sunderland's and County Durham's history (coal mining, glass, manufacturing). The displays are interactive and good for children. On the ground floor there is a also a cafe/restuarant and access to the winter gardens. The Winter Gardens contain many tropical plants and fish. Upstairs are exhbition rooms and an extensive collection of Sunderland Lustreware pottery. Both the museum and Winter gardens are free to enter.

2 Thank markybrum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wexford, Ireland
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“a good place to visit to get a feel of the history of the north east”
Reviewed 18 May 2010

A great place to visit. It gives you the history of the North East in different areas of the building. From the diet of the past to the present day. There is a section dedicated to Lowry the painter. What it was like down the mines. There is a section displaying the pottery of the area. There is also the Winter Gardens a little oasis and all indoors. All free and well worth a visit. A museum that is well worth a visit. Anton

5 Thank Antoncore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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